Psychedelic Bumble?

Bumble on a flower whose name I wish I knew

Kind of a wild shot, but I like it lots. Someone out there must know the name of this flower. If you do, please post a comment or send me an email. Shameful…

Not much narrative tonight. Getting ready for the art festival in Litchfield, AZ this weekend and there’s always more to do. And, it seems, I do more slowly than I’d like.

So love the bee. That’s enough for today.

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Bumble in the Lavender

Bumble in the Lavender

Lavender is fantastic for pollinators. There’s even an extra in that shot…not particularly a pollinator by definition – but passively/accidentally doing it as it moves from flower to flower.

I’m not sure of the variety of Lavender. After a few years in the garden, when other varieties are present, they kind of tend to invent their own variants. Pretty though. And teeming with bees and other critters.

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A Bumble from Red Butte

Another shot from Red Butte Garden (described in yesterday’s post). Something tells me I really should know what this flower’s called, but don’t. One of the hazards of leaving my own yard.

If you look very closely, you might see another critter peeking out from somewhere. I think that the close-ups are usually more compelling, but this one from a little farther out grabbed me. The attitude of the bumble and the blossom seem to work nicely together.

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Bumble on a Cone Flower

Bumble on a Cone Flower (Echinacea – of some sort)

This was shot last August at Red Butte Garden in Salt Lake City. I’d driven a friend to an appointment with a doctor and I had a couple of hours to kill. I had my cameras with me and so I decided to have a look at the gardens there. It was a really odd day in that it seemed to be all bumbles, all the time – and several varieties. Only a few natives, fewer honeybees, and just masses of bumbles. Normally, I’m overwhelmed with honeybees and the occasional bumble is a treat. That afternoon, it was reversed. But it sure was a fun day to shoot. And the gardens there are exceptional. Stop in if you’re in the area – and I’ll bet you thank me after your visit.

In other news, when I was introduced to this flower (in our own gardens) I heard “Corn Flower” rather than “Cone Flower”. So…they’ll always be Corn Flowers to me.

I think I mentioned I wasn’t much of a taxonomist…yet.

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Bumble on a Different Salvia

Bumble on a Salvia

This is a really neat shot of a bumble (not sure of the variety) on a salvia that’s different from yesterday. This particular salvia seems to attract a wide variety of bees and other pollinators. Butterflies are particularly fond of it. I’m a little frustrated not knowing which cultivar it is. Check back and maybe I’ll edit this post if I’m able to figure it out. But the picture – this is the orientation of the original shot. But… A quick flip 90 degrees clockwise and you get this:

Same but Spun 90 Degrees

I almost like this orientation better. When printed, I tend to want to hang it this way. The crop might need just a bit more picture on the right for better composition, but it’s the orientation that I’m looking at. I think I could go with either. Artistic license, right?

What do you think?

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Two in One

Bumble and Honeybee with a Sunflower of Indeterminate Heritage

Two today, both laden with pollen. Before you get too impressed with the bee in flight, you should probably know that I’m muttering about blind pigs and acorns and rolling the dice often enough and other similar aphorisms.

Part of the reason for that is that the depth of focus, when shooting bees, is pretty thin. I’m trying to figure out how to explain this in a way that makes sense and it’s tough because a photo is a two dimensional representation of three dimensions (well, four, if you count that fraction of a second caught).

Imagine a pane of glass about 1/8″ of an inch thick (likely less) that’s about a foot away from your lens and directly perpendicular to it – so you’re looking straight through it. That eighth or sixteenth of an inch of thickness – that’s what is going to be in focus when the shutter snaps.

If you go back to the Hairy Eyeball Bee that I posted on the 8th of this month, you’ll see that only part of the eyeball is in focus. And a bee in profile is a pretty thin thing as it is. But in that shot we lose focus on the legs quickly…and the pollen on her head, just a millimeter or few behind, is blurring. And the closer the target is to the lens, the thinner the depth of focus is cut.

That’s one of the reasons that shooting bees is tough. The other is that they’re always moving. And they’re fast in flight.

SO…all that is to point out that the constraints are pretty awful. Nearly impossible. Meaning that to get a shot of one in flight with another nearly in that same focal plane has very little to do with planning and skill – and much more to do with luck and rolling the dice enough times to make something happen.

But when it does, it’s sure fun.

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Filthy Bumble on a Meadow Blazing Star

Bumble on a Meadow Blazing Star (Liatris ligulistylis)

The Meadow Blazing Star (Liatris ligulistylis) is an incredible plant for attracting pollinators. I look forward to it blooming every year. The pollen mess all over that bumble is Liatris pollen. White, not purple. Seems odd to me, but what do I know? This variety gets pretty tall – up to five feet. And when it blooms (late summer/early fall), it’s just covered with blossoms – nearly bottom to top. My only criticism of the thing is it moves some even in the slightest breeze – and it’s tough enough finding a bee that will hold still… 😉

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Golden Bumble on a Giant Larkspur

Golden Bumble (Bombus fervidus) on a Giant Larkspur (Consolida ajacis)

Not all that much to say about this one. Just a Golden Bumble ( Bombus fervidus) on a Giant Larkspur (Consolida ajacis). Lots of pollen, though. And interesting how she’s got her head jammed in there pulling herself deeper with her claws. Seems the Larkspur was made for just for that. Normally, I like to include the eye in a bee pic. Seems if the eye is in good focus, it’s a good shot. But this one was compelling to me – eye or no.

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Just a Bumble on a Sunflower

Bumblebee (Bombus something?) on a Volunteer Sunflower

Mercifully short post today. It’s a dirty-faced bumblebee on a volunteer sunflower. I never know where the flowers are going to come up, but they’re a welcome addition to our gardens in the late summer. And the bees and other pollinators love them.

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